The Grocery Shrink Ray continues its miniature spree across the supermarket aisles of America. Here’s 14 more victims that have surfaced in the past week, as spotted by our watchful bands of deputized Consumerist reader-investigators…
Click on the pictures to start an awesome gallery
Pat says, “My husband works long shifts overnight at our local air force base and he loves to eat Nature Valley chewy trail mix bars. I had just heard your interview on NPR when I went to Sam’s Club to the weekly supplies for his lunch and low and behold, they shrunk the granola bars. The box costs $8.28, which was reasonable for 35 bars LAST WEEK but THIS WEEK for the same $8.28 the box had shrunk and it contains 30 bars. My husband says that is a 17% increase in price per unit. Don’t know about the math but it is much less for the money. I have attached a picture depicting last week’s trailmix and this week’s trailmix.”
Joe writes: “At our BiLo Supermarket in Blk Mtn, NC, I’d been purchasing their 1 lb bag 44596 12725 For $9.99. When buying it again a week ago, I saw only one of that size bag in front of 3/4 lb bags. Since buying that last one then, this week I checked there and sure enough that price is the same for the now 25% smaller bags.”
Case writes:”The Grocery Shrink Ray has targeted my beloved Monster Energy! It’s not right, I tell you! For YEARS, Monster has come in 16oz cans. Now they are robbing me of a whole ounce of hypertension and diabetes-inducing goodness! NOOOOOO!
This on top of the fact that the average price per can at the gas station has gone from $2 to $3 over the last couple of years.
Is nothing sacred?!?”
Jeff writes, “Delallo Red Wine Vinegar old package 32oz, new bottle 25.4oz and still being sold for the same price of $2.79.”
Scott writes, “While on vacation in Tennessee this week with my partner we stopped to enjoy some breathtaking views of the Smoky Mountains. After having our breath taken away we decided to each get a bottle of water. The nearby Coke vending machine advertised 12oz cans of Coca-Cola brand sodas or a 12oz bottle of Dasani water for only $1. Not a bad deal for vending machines these days. I went first, put in my $1 bill, pressed the button for the Dasani water & out came a 10.1 oz Dasani bottle (see photo).
Severely displeased, my partner decided to call the customer service number on the machine. To our surprise, the customer service rep was courteous, apologetic, said that this should not be happening & that someone would be sent to correct the situation (she asked us to provide her with the identifying information off of the machine). After all of that, she took our information & will be sending us a refund for the $1 we paid (without us even asking for the refund).
So, we went from unhappy to satisfied in under two minutes. Yay(?)”
Sean writes, “So I was browsing Target to get some more trash bags, and I stumbled upon my favorite brand’s new box. It looks like they have a new scented version out. And apparently this new scented coating must be really thick, cause they took 6 bags out of the same size box, and they want to charge me the same price. I guess with everything else shrinking, Hefty must think were generating less trash as well. Needless to say I’m buying the box with more bags in it.”
Christopher writes, “I’m a frequent eater at the Subway located at Mendenhall and Winchester in SE Memphis as it’s near my office and comparatively healthy to the other nearby options. My regular sandwich is either a 6″ Roast Beef or Turkey on their honey oat bread. I went in this afternoon for a Roast Beef, and the preparer (food jockey?) only put 3 slices of Roast Beef on the sandwich. I noticed that the lady in front of my had a footlong Turkey and only got 6 slices. The problem is, last week (and as far back as I can remember) 6″ sandwiches got 4 slices of meat and footlongs got 8. As you can see in the attached picture, 3 slices of meat leave a significant hole in the sandwich.
I asked the manager on duty, and his response was that it was new policy due to rising costs. I realize I could be making my own sandwiches at home, but now I have a strong incentive to do so…$6.19 for a 6″ substandard sub no longer cuts it.”
Scott writes, “I just went to the store & bought the new shapely bottles of Tropicana Orange Juice. Though the bottle is smaller from 96 oz to 89 oz the bottle shape is the same dimensions (L*W*H). They just “squeezed” the sides of bottle inward.”
Ethan writes, “Noticed this at target today.”
Scott writes, “I noticed a little while ago that the packaging had shrunk for this jerky maker. At the time, I looked but the portion size stayed the same – 4oz per container. I thought something was amiss and kept checking but could never find proof until Thursday night. They now shrunk what you get and keep it at the same price. I took these pictures at 7-11 with my cell phone and tried to get the price and size in both. They were both marked at $5.99 even though one package clearly was marked at 3.5 oz and the other marked at 4 oz. Almost all of the 4 oz packages were gone and I made sure that I got both in Original flavor in case of discrepancy with flavor and cost.”
Katie writes, “I was running low on napkins at work. Much to my chagrin, I noticed the old Bounty package contained 20 more napkins 6 months ago than the package I bought today. Not exactly the quicker picker upper I expected.
All I had was the empty wrapper of the old one so my sister came up with a great idea on photographing this shrinkage.
When will the madness end??
Matthew writes,”Even after reading your site daily I still got caught by the grocery shrink ray yesterday. My favorite Margherita pepperoni packages shrunk from 6 oz to 4.5 oz since the last time I bought them. I took a picture of a package I had at home and the new one. “
According to this article, the Grocery Shrink Ray could be hitting all of Pepsi products. (Thanks to Mike!)
Ed writes, “I shopped at the Walmart I regularly go to for, among other things, Gillette Mach 3 replacement blades. They have been available in 4, 8, and 12 packs for seemingly ever. The unit pricing for each was typically very close. 4 packs were about $8.25, 8 packs were $16.45, give or take.
Today, I discovered that the 4 pack is now a 5 pack. The insidious part is that the unit price per blade in the 4 pack went from about $2.06 in the 4 pack to $2.25 in the 5 pack, while the 8 pack unit price did not go up as much – $2.10 from $2.06. While I get that it is very common for bigger volume packs to have a lower unit price, this was not the case for this product. This had held true for at least 5 years.
The other interesting aspect of this is that P&G did the opposite of the “shrink ray.” They grew/expanded the content and they sharply increased the price for that package. “
Brian writes,”I’ve been making my world (read: within my household) famous nachos for years now, and always with the same ingredients. The final part of cooking up the topping is a 15 oz. can of Hunts Tomato Sauce, a 4 oz. can of diced jalapenos (either Ortega or La Victoria), and an 8ish oz. can of diced ortega chiles. All of the items came in their normal sizes at their normal prices, but they are all far more watery than they have been in the past. I noticed it as I poured them into the pan, and now that they’ve been simmering for a good 20 minutes, it’s far, far thinner than usual. I think there may be some companies watering down their ingredients rather than making the serving size smaller. Is this the grocery version of water-diluted gas?”
Got a hot grocery-shrink-ray tip? Send your pictures and stories to email@example.com.